In 2002, Lou Richardson retired from the Meade County Sheriff’s department. She had been with the Meade County Sheriff’s Department since June 15, 1978.  The article written about her shared many accomplishments, which were humbling to her.  For her, service to the community and citizens of Meade County Kansas and the surrounding law enforcement agencies and communities was not a job but an honor and a pleasure.  She was once quoted back in 1992 as saying that Meade “is a small community with a big heart.”  For those of you who knew her, this described her as well.
Most never knew that although she no longer worked in the daily activities of the community as a dispatcher, she found as many ways as she could to be of service, even being in poor health.  After leaving her beloved Sheriff’s department, she continued her volunteer services to reach out as she did to those who were in less than ideal conditions, be it through providing pen pal service for wounded veterans, outreach and counseling for inmates, performing with her puppet “Willie” for children in the hospital as well as so many other direct or indirect community and national causes. Throughout the past month I have seen the selflessness of her life unfold through the letters and correspondence she kept throughout the years; to see how her kindness and love changed the lives of many…transformations that made life so blessed.
Even in the final days of her sharing time with us on this earth, she eagerly awaited the arrival of the Meade Newspaper…As she became unable to read, we each took turns reading to her what was going on in her “home” of Meade.  She listened eagerly to each detail, pondering, and agreeing or sometimes shaking her head.  She was blessed by many of you throughout the years and wished for me to let you all know she was thankful for everything that shaped her life, both good and bad, for it made her life blessed by each gift of life shared.  She was a woman of great faith who believed there was hope for everyone, even for those who did harm against her.  She believed that her Lord would use her as an instrument of peace.
For me the following passage is a reflection of how she touched so many lives:
"There are some few who walk easy on the earth,
Contemporary and companion of every life,
God's gift to His world, to make the lonely laugh, the neglected come alive,
To stir spirits and warm hearts, to enrich the discordant parts of the rest of life.
Such gentle ones make a lasting mark on every life the touch, without trying or preaching, judging or seeking,
Merely by their presence on the earth...
A shade tree by a favorite stream,
The morning sun on a damp meadow,
A green hill mirrored by a quiet lake,
A sugar pine silver in the moonlight.
We think of them when a brook laughs with the same gentle eyes, or a frightened fawn leaps in sudden surprise.
Remember an excited face and a loving heart, a presence and touch, and a smiling face so very much, only grateful for the very special song she sang to us...grateful above all that she walked easy on this earth."   J. Kavanaugh
Rest in peace, Mamma. If I become only a fraction of who you were, then I will truly be blessed.
In remembrance:
Mary Lou Richardson
Born December 16, 1939 as Mary Lou Bartley, daughter of Wesley and Mattie Roena Bartley.
Died November 7, 2011
She was the last living sibling in her family and was preceded with by her parents, three brothers and two sisters in death.  She is survived by two daughters, Mary (Thornton) Patrick and her husband Mike of Anderson SC and Anita Belcher Giaimo and her husband Vincent Giaimo of Poughquag, NY, a son, Gerald Wayne Thornton of TX., twelve grandchildren, five great grand children and many whom she called her children and loved as her family.
I Am Not There
By Mary Elizabeth Frye (1932)
Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glint on snow. I am the sun on ripened grain. I am the gentle Autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning hush, I am the swift, uplifting rush of quiet birds in circling flight. I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die.